Australian Cricket demonstrates progress as a leading sport for women and girls
June 30, 2019
Cricket continues to be a sport of choice for women and girls with figures released today as part of the Australian Cricket Census.
In 2018/19, registered female participation grew by 14 per cent, including 873 new girls’ teams taking the field and females now making up 30 per cent of cricket participants in Australia.
Last season 1.65 million Australians participated in a cricket program or competition, a six per cent increase from 2017/18 and the largest number of participants recorded in the history of the sport.
In addition to the growth in female participation, cricket continues to diversify its appeal with increased involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (up 6.4 per cent), people from a multicultural background (up 9.2 per cent) and people living with a disability (up 5.1 per cent).
Cricket now has a presence in 66 per cent of primary schools across the country and over 965,000 kids were involved in curriculum-aligned cricket programs of four or more weeks, an increase of 111,000 kids from 2017/18.
Club participation declined overall by 3.6 per cent in in male competitions this season. Whilst declining participation in organised sport in developed countries is a global trend, Australian Cricket is working hard to reverse this.
Acknowledging the critically important role that clubs play in their local communities, Australian Cricket continues to prioritise investment in grassroots cricket to make participation options more enjoyable, accessible and to make volunteering easier. This involves a $300 million commitment to community cricket from 2017-2022 by Cricket Australia and State and Territory Associations, a $100 million increase on the previous five-year period. In the past twelve months, efforts have been focused on:
- Transforming Junior Cricket through embedding new formats where games are shorter, faster, have more boundaries and are more inclusive and the launch of a new entry-level program – Woolworths Cricket Blast – to provide a strong platform for junior cricketers to develop a love for the game.
- A series of significant investments into community facilities, free coach education, an uplift in local staffing support and equipment grants. The game’s professional players have been important contributors to some of these initiatives.
- Digital technology solutions including the award-winning CA Coach App, a refreshed Alinta MyCricket App and Live Score App and a new learning management system for volunteers.
Kieran McMillan, Acting Executive General Manager of Community Cricket at Cricket Australia said:
“In season 2018/19 we have seen participation in cricket grow in many areas of the game with an unprecedented 1.65 million Australians picking up a bat or ball this past season.
“Over the course of a summer of cricket, over 113,000 club cricket matches are played with thousands of teams lining up for their respective teams, demonstrating that cricket is a major part of each community around Australia.
“We are indebted to the hard work of our committed volunteers, teachers and Australian cricket staff around the country who are uniting and inspiring communities, dedicating an enormous amount of time and energy to providing great participation experiences.
“Of particular significance, female participation has continued to grow in line with cricket’s long-term goal to be Australia’s leading sport for women and girls.
“With a world champion national team, and an action-packed and standalone Rebel Women’s Big Bash League and ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Australia 2020 coming up this summer, the opportunity to inspire the next generation of girls is huge.
“Another catalyst for the growth of the female game is Cricket Australia’s Growing Cricket for Girls Fund that has been supported over the past four years by the Commonwealth Bank.
“The Fund is a trailblazing initiative that has supported 99 community associations, 10 school sporting associations, 531 clubs and 111 schools develop girls’ teams or develop an all-girls competition since 2016.
Investing into cricket’s heartland
“Clubs continue to be the lifeblood of the cricket community and Australian Cricket is doing more to support clubs through a series of landmark investments.
“Whilst we’ve seen a decline in the number of registered participants at a club level, Australian Cricket has demonstrated our commitment to the sport’s heartland through increased funding and support.
“CA and State and Territory Associations have committed up to $14 million towards the Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund over the next three years. In 2018/19, 240 community cricket facilities were funded with a total project value of $87 million, showing the power of the Fund to leverage additional local support.
“The Grassroots Cricket Fund is a contribution of up to $30 million from Australia’s professional cricketers through to 2022-23 which is delivered via a partnership between the players, the Australian Cricketers’ Association and Cricket Australia.
“In 2018-19, the Grassroots Cricket Fund contributed an additional $1m to the Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund. In addition, $800,000 in equipment grants were directly provided to 329 clubs in regional and rural areas of the country.
“We’ve also invested in providing more staff to partner with their local communities to support clubs, schools and competition operators make cricket thrive. Since February 2019, 58 additional staff have commenced to complement the 12 new staff that began in July 2018 at State and Territory Cricket Associations and they will quickly find their feet to make an impact as preparations begin for the upcoming season.
“Australian Cricket has also taken our digital offerings to the next level to better connect with cricket communities and make life easier for volunteers.
“This includes our award-winning CA Coach App that helps coaches communicate, collaborate, and create engaging training sessions. The App has had 15,000 unique downloads, over 30,000 videos views and 20,000 training sessions planned since launching in September 2018.
“We’ve also made significant upgrades to improve the functionality and stability of Alinta MyCricket for clubs and cricketers to keep a close eye on their own statistics and the LiveScore app that has saved over 16,000 volunteer hours.
“It is extremely encouraging to see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders embrace the game in greater numbers, with cricket growing exponentially in Indigenous communities since 2013.
“293,290 multicultural players and 27,183 people living with a disability have made cricket as a sport of choice as the game broadens its focus on engagement, participation and positive social outcomes.
“The introduction of new junior formats and a refreshed entry level program – Woolworths Cricket Blast – is in response to changing expectations of kids and parents and within an increasingly competitive landscape of recreation options.
“The environments for kids to learn and develop confidence need to be fun, inclusive and action-packed. We feel we’ve now got an offering that is based on sound research and will enable Australian cricket to strengthen its junior playing base and inspire more kids to join and stay in our game.
“The connection with the BBL and WBBL is also important so that there is a direct link between the colour and excitement of our popular domestic T20 leagues and the experiences at the local club.
“With over 2,800 Woolworths Cricket Blast centres and 80 per cent of the 227 junior associations around the country offering modified formats, we have a strong platform for future growth.
“Almost one million kids participated in cricket in schools this year, assisting in the development of physical and social skills, as well as making friends along the way.
“A strong culture of cricket in schools is a great foundation for the future generation of players and that’s why we also help teachers by having a program that aligns to the school curriculum, making it easier for them to do their jobs.”
About the Australian Cricket Census
The 2018/19 Australian Cricket Census is the 18th annual audit of Australian cricket participation. The Census has become an important measure for game development, setting targets and monitoring successes and trends for the long‐term enhancement of Australian cricket.
A ‘participant’ is defined by the Australian Cricket Census as someone who participates in at least four sessions of a formal cricket program in a season.
The 2018/19 census has been compiled by the Community Cricket department at Cricket Australia and each State and Territory Cricket association.
For a detailed breakdown of the Australian Cricket Census, please click here.
View our snapshot of the census video here.
For more information:
+61 457 571 972